MADRID, June 24 Miquel Roque, a Real Betis
defender who started out in Barcelona's youth ranks and had a
stint at Liverpool, has died of cancer at the age of 23, Betis
said on Sunday.
"Miki Roque had been fighting pelvic cancer since March
2011," the La Liga club said in a statement on their website
"The board of directors, the technical staff, the first team
and the youth ranks, as well as the most important section of
the club, the fans, are united in the tremendous pain felt at
the passing of a young footballer, of one of our own."
Roque's death prompted an avalanche of tributes on Twitter,
including from several Spain internationals competing at Euro
"A big hug for Miki Roque's family," central defender Gerard
Pique wrote. "I knew him when he played for Liverpool and I was
at (Manchester) United. Rest in peace friend."
(Reporting by Iain Rogers; Editing by John Mehaffey)